During the recent Rugby World Cup there was a lot of talk on how the smaller or tier two and three nations just couldn't compete against the top ranked or tier one nations. All the commentators at some point or another made mention of this. Not one of them however came up with a solutions to improve the state of rugby world wide. Well here is my thoughts on how this can be improved.
The IRB has made so much money from fines dish out at the World Cup that they should have some to spare after they paid themselves bonuses. That and the money made from the World Cup itself is there to sustain them to the next World Cup as well as for development. To ensure that the smaller nations gets more exposure instead of having competitions between these nations, that doesn't really improve their rugby, why not help them tour the bigger nations.
Currently you might see the Springboks play one of the South Sea Island teams, Argentina and Italy maybe once in four years. The same goes for Australia and the All Blacks. Yet when the World Cup comes around everyone wants them to compete against these top teams. The IRB should force the top 8 Countries to play at least four tests a year against the smaller nations and support these nations financially as well as force the clubs the players play for to release them to play.
Why not include these teams in competitions like the Super 15 and Heineken Cup. The even smaller teams like Russia, Romania and Georgia can be included in the provincial/club competitions like the Currie Cup, Aviva Premiership and French Top 14. By doing this the player's gets to know each other, play together and even get exposure while doing so. The IRB can use the money they earned from silly fines to support the teams. They are the governing body and should make sure development includes improving the standard of rugby world wide.
The one thing I probably forgot is that the top nations run the IRB and if there is no financial gain for them it won't happen. You see rugby is no longer about the game, but about how much money each Board and individual on that board can make out of it. Players no longer play for the love of the game or pride of representing their country, but go where they can earn the most. Don't get me wrong they deserve to earn a good salary, but like soccer the salaries are outrageous. At the end of the day we as spectators and fans pay for all of this.
Looking at recent numbers at Super Rugby and Currie Cup matches in South Africa, the fans just can't afford it anymore. When a stadium is not even half full for a semi-final between two top teams, you know that rugby is either not the number one sport in the country or the tickets are just too expensive. Saturday the Golden Lions Rugby Union could have given away more than half their tickets for the Currie Cup semi-final at Ellis Park.
To the IRB use the money to develop the smaller nations so that they can compete against the top nations. This way you will make more money as more fans will go to these games. Think guys, you like money yet you don't use it to make more.
Like I always say this is just my view......